HMRC warn of tax scams targeting university students

Newsletter issue - December 2018

HMRC have published a series of warnings that university students are being targeted by scammers with fake tax refunds in an effort to steal money and personal details.

The scammers are using seemingly legitimate university email addresses (for example '@uc.ac.uk') in order to avoid detection, and HMRC have received thousands of fraud reports from students at colleges across the UK.

This is the first time HMRC has seen a tax scam attack directly targeting university students in such high volumes.

HMRC never inform people about potential tax refunds by email, text or voicemail. Therefore, if someone does receive such a notification, they can be certain that it is a scam. People should not click on any links in these messages, and they should be forwarded to HMRC's phishing email address (phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk).

HMRC are taking action encouraging all universities to raise awareness of scams and many have already begun taking action to warn their students of the risks. Often HMRC-related email scams spoof the branding of GOV.UK and well known credit cards in an attempt to look authentic. The recipient's name and email address may be included several times within the email itself.

Fraudulent emails and texts will regularly include links which take students to websites where their information can be stolen. Between April and September this year, HMRC requested that 7,500 of these phishing sites be deactivated. This compares to around 5,200 requests during the same period in 2017. Last year HMRC deactivated more than 20,000 fake HMRC websites, an increase of 29% on the previous year.

To avoid falling foul of the scams, people should:

  • avoid disclosing private information, such as personal data, bank account details, PIN numbers etc.;
  • not reply to text messages purporting to be from HMRC or other Government department;
  • not click on any links in unexpected emails or download any attachments.

Individuals who are the victim of an attempted fraud can contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or report the fraud using their online tool.

What our clients say about us...

  • "Paul has provided accountancy services to my company for 2 years now. I can recommend Paul very highly; his skills as an accountant are highly detailed and professional and he is always available to provide advice. One aspect of the way Paul works that I greatly appreciate is a preference to meet face to face when there is a detailed conversation to be had. I personally find this more productive and is a benefit of working with a small accountancy firm that you wouldn't get with the large faceless providers."

    ALISTAIR FAIRWEATHER - PROGRAMME & PROJECT MANAGER, DELIVERING/RESCUING I.T. 7 BUSINESS CHANGE WITH BUDGETS UPTO £50M INC SUPPIER MANAGEMENT

  • "I couldn't ask for more from Paul as an Accountant. Paul has been accountant to Work Relief Charity Recruitment for just over a year now and is proving an invaluable asset. Accurate, knowledgeable, flexible with an emphasis on service delivery, I would recommend Paul's services to any organisation looking for an accounts professional."

    Neil Price - Managing Director at Work Relief Charity Recruitment

  • "Paul was a referral from a family member when I started my business 2 years ago. As this was the first time I had ever run my own company I was totally clueless over the financial side of matters and was worried that I may have made mistakes in any of my accounting. I needn't have worried as after enaging Paul for a set monthly fee he was always there on the end of the phone for all sorts of questions I had and no matter how trivial they were Paul gave me all the information I required and more and did an excellent and painless job at the end of my first year! Couldn't ask for any better to be honest. Just two words - hire him!!!"

    Lee Westrap MBCS - Director - Bulldog IT Services

Request a Callback
Please complete our form
to request a callback
Get a Fixed Quote

Competitive fixed quotes
for agreed services

Find out how to Make more, Keep more and Work less

Increase your profit and
reduce tax liabilities

Your Business Size?

Expert advice for your
business size

 

Marker

Booth & Co  |   The Hermitage  |   15a Shenfield Road  |   Brentwood  |   Essex  |   CM15 8AG        Telephone: 01277 224666    |   Email: info@boothandco.co.uk